Sources: FOKER LSM and Kompas
Ardiansyah Matra’is, a journalist working for Merauke TV, was found dead near the Gudang Arang river in Merauke, Papua, on Friday morning. Ardiansyah had been reported missing for two days.
He worked as a stringer for TV station Anteve and as a reporter for Papua’s Rajawali daily before joining Merauke TV.
Jojo, the chief editor of Rajawali daily, told news portal Kompas.com that journalists in Papua have been receiving death threats through text messaging over the past week.
“The SMS messages said that journalists in Papua would be killed and there would be no action from the police and the military. Several journalists had lodged a report with the Merauke Police about the death threats [they received],” Jojo said.
One text message reads: “To cowardly journalists, never play with fire if you don’t want to be burned. If you still want to make a living on this land, don’t do weird things. We have data on all of you and be prepared for death.”
Statement from FOKER LSM
Slightly abridged by Pro Papua
We are saddened to inform you that Adriansyah Matrais a member of Foker (Forum Kerja Lembaga Sosial Masyarakat, NGO working forum) has died under suspicious circumstances.
Adriansyah worked as a journalist for the Foker bi-weekly tabloid JUBI (Jujur Bicara, Honest Talk) and Merauke TV. He was initially declared missing in Merauke Regency, Papua Province on 28 July when his motorbike and helmet were found on a bridge near the River Maro. On 30 June the naked and handcuffed body of Adriansyah was discovered in the Gudang Arang River.
In an attempt to reduce the level of threats and improve the personal security situation of Adriansyah, people advised Adriansyah to cease his investigations in Jayapura Regency, Papua Province and return to his home in Merauke Regency, Papua Province.
During the period of increased intimidation, Adriansyah had been investigating financial irregularities in funding for improvements in Mandala Stadium (Jayapura Regency, Papua Province), in the plans to build a bridge over Yotefa Bay as part of a ring road for Jayapura (Jayapura Regency, Papua Province) and in the provision of electricity to Enggros Island (Jayapura Regency, Papua Province), as well as following up on unresolved human rights cases in Papua and investigating illegal logging in Keerom District, Papua Province.
In the week before the disappearance Adriansyah had become increasingly paranoid about his personal movements, according to his wife.